Who should teach photography?

Started Sep 26, 2013 | Polls thread
jkoch2 Senior Member • Posts: 1,198
Photography should not be taught: "courses" a scam, unless entertainment

For the sake of pure entertainment, people can pay for whatever classes, courses, or certification programs they enjoy.  If nothing else, you are apt to meet people who share your interests.

Any person should be free to direct or teach such classes, so long as they can attract and retain paying students.  No other bars or criteria should apply.  None.  It is no different than starting a store-front church: if your spirited preaching fills the hat with enough dollars to cover the rent, hallelujah!

As in the story of "Stone Soup," a person totally ignorant of cameras or photography could be an excellent mentor simply by bringing together people interested in photography.  The first day class could begin, brilliantly, if the know-nothing simply asked the students:  "Hmm. Now what should I say first about photography?"  A sea of hands would rise.  By the time every enthusiast finishes making their remark, and after all the counter-remarks and retorts are duly monitored by the "teacher," you'd have much better success than if a pedagogical craftsman or artist had simply droned about what they think or like.

On the other hand, schools, programs, or institutes that hire under-employed photographers or camera technicians and make pitches to the public that their degrees or certificates will grant people entry to the glamorous world of fashion photography, photo-journalism, or Hollywood are blatant scams.  Any money or time spent should be done with the same discretion that one would give to recreation or a holiday vacation.  There are essentially no jobs to be had, other than by relentless DIY scrounging and self-promotion--talents which also come in handy and tend to yield fruit more easily when selling any service or product other than photography.

Photography is something one learns by trial and error.  If a person is fascinated by photographs, he or she will learn, one way or another.  If a person has no interest, or lacks aptitude for the topic, any classes will be a hopeless waste.

Music is nearly the same, except that no one will be appointed conductor without knowledge of musical score--however acquired.

Yes, there is institutional snobbery galore: preference for degrees from certain conservatories, apprentiseships under maestro or madame so-and-so, mandatory membership in some guild or association, etc.  Barriers of every sort abound.  But the key requisites of success are talent, hard work, and fanatical persistence.  Howeveer, not even degrees and other requisites guarantee a financially viable career.  Best to be borne with a hefty trust account or marry into wealth!

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